"Tokyo University 1968-1969 -- Behind the Blockade"
2015å¹´1æœˆ9æ—¥ (fri)ï½ž1æœˆ31æ—¥ (sat)
Text / Hitomi Watanabe
1968 was a year of instability - with the prolonged Vietnam war, student protests in Paris, repression of Czechoslovakia by those countries which were shaken by the â€œPrague Springâ€. America saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. On the other hand, the Apollo mission landed on the moon the following year.
1968 was also the year I began photography. I wandered around downtown Shinjuku with a camera, capturing people and whatever caught my attention. One night, I came across a crowd causing great turmoil in Shinjuku. I learned that it was an international anti-war protest. Before that, the Vietnam War had seemed to me merely information transmitted from the media, but I felt its reality after joining the protest. As the Riot Police searchlight lit up students' helmets in the heaving crowd, their silhouettes would shiver violently. Student Power in Japan became a powerful tide fighting against society.
Around that time, I stepped foot into Tokyo University's Hongo Campus for the first time, and met Yoshitaka Yamamoto, who was then representative of Todai Zen-kyoto. He inspired me. It was he who made me so determined to document the Todai protests. Inside the barricades actually was an open space, into which non-local students, the general public and even high school students could go.
Forty-seven years have now passed since then, and some memories are dimming - but film creates new memory. The spirit of Zen-kyoto is brought back to life.